Sunday, 8 February 2015

All fluffed up

I was watching a Dabchick diving for food at the Restharrow Scrape, Sandwich Bay today when I noticed something that I should have already been aware of.

When the Grebe first broke the surface it immediately fluffed up its feathers looking almost like a fluffy ball.

It stayed in this pose for a while, presumably using the trapped air as an insulation.

Then quite quickly it seemed to deflate and the tail end when down and the bird became much more streamlined.

All of the air was squeezed out of the feathers, as like a submarine it became submersible.

|The characteristic dive followed, with a little leap out of the water, showing just how far back the legs are set on the body.

The little tuft of a tail disappearing under the water as it went in search of small fish.

Of course at this time of year Teal are the commonest bird on the scrape. The female may not be as striking as her partner but is still subtly beautiful.

The more striking males are now all in full breeding plumage, and many were already in the mood for pairing up, with much head bobbing, up and down, being performed in front of the females in order to impress them.  

 There seemed to be a lot of Gadwall around and these also were mainly in pairs. It was good to be out in the sunshine, albeit rather cold as |I attempt my acclimatisation after the warmth of mid-summer in Queensland.

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